Micky Phillippi will represent the United States of America at the U23 Freestyle World Championships in Budapest, Hungary October 29-30. To be specific, those dates are when his weight class, 61 kilograms is contested, but the whole tournament runs October 28 – November 3.
Phillippi lost in the U23 Trials in Akron earlier this summer to Chaz Tucker of Cornell two matches to none in a best of three series. However due to academic scheduling concerns, Tucker will not be able to compete. As the next man in line, Phillippi will take his spot.
As noted in the USA Wrestling press release, Micky did not wrestle much freestyle in high school or at Virginia. However after transferring to Pitt, he has competed more in the international style, with recent participation at the US Open, U23 Nationals, and Last Chance Senior World Team Trials Qualifier.
61kg converts to 134.2 pounds, almost exactly equal to his NCAA class of 133. Micky will face stiff opposition in Budapest. It isn’t everyday college kids get to wrestle folks from Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.
He may have a few advantages though. Pittsburgh RTC resident athlete Samat Nadyrbek Uulu is from Kyrgyzstan, a former soviet republic. Surely he will give Micky a few tips on what to watch out for. The RTC’s other lightweight resident athlete, Nico Megaludis, also has extensive experience wrestling overseas on the senior level, and will be crucial in preparing Micky for this challenge.
In addition to training partners, head coach Keith Gavin represented the United States at the Senior World Championships in 2013. Coincidentally, this tournament was also in Budapest. Gavin was on the National Team for six consecutive years, and is widely considered a freestyle technique guru.
Assistant coach Drew Headlee has wrestled in freestyle tournaments on the senior circuit in eight countries including Russia, Belarus, and Cuba.
Budapest is six hours ahead of the Eastern time zone. So get ready to wake up early Pitt fans!